Xandria Phillips

Beached Shark as a Slave Ship Run Aground

with Jesused wingspan / a body composing suspended T /
teeth jumping ship / maw-swell turnover-heavy / the bull shark
knows chronic loss and a ceaseless rise in its body count / and
she / my buoyant familiar / my woman of nostril and scale /
pushed into land / a tempest giving birth to itself / a man with
a C- shaped blade pulled her stomach into his cut / to look for
nestlings abandoned in the beached vessel / just blood and blood /
death by laceration and not the quiet maroon with a sunset planned /
what did he expect for the offspring of an animal so far from where
it was made / then again /show me a man who doesn’t want to gut his
first hull / then again /
!200! even a void looks like a massacre if it’s painted red

Xandria Phillips is the author of Reasons For Smoking, which won the 2016 The Seattle Review chapbook contest judged by Claudia Rankine. She hails from rural Ohio where she was raised on corn, and inherited her grandmother’s fear of open water. Xandria received her BA from Oberlin College, and her MFA from Virginia Tech. Xandria is Winter Tangerine's associate poetry editor, and the curator of Love Letters to Spooks, a literary space for Black people. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and Callaloo. Xandria’s poetry is present or forthcoming in Callaloo, Beloit Poetry Journal, West Branch, Nashville Review, Nepantla, Gigantic Sequins, Ninth Letter Online and elsewhere.